Miscellaneous Rumbles

I love America!

1

Im kind of a history nut and when I was a kid i wanted to be a Astronaut, so reading this today made my day. To think that Our Countrymen were able to launch a spacecraft that has traveled further into Space than any other object and still works is pretty fantastic. Amazing technology that probably started with ideas from kids that got their ideas by shooting homemade model rockets in a field. (just like I did)

First this,,,, On 25 August 2012, data from Voyager 1 indicated that it had become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, traveling "further than anyone, or anything, in history".

And today this, https://arstechnica.com/sci...

37 years later and our Spacecraft is still trucking thru Space. Way to go NASA!

3

When I was a kid we had a coal fire. I used to get matchsticks and wrap the burning end in the silver foil wrappers of my dads cigarette packets, place them on the burning coal pointing into the room and watch as the match would heat up, ignite, and had nowhere to go except shoot the matchstick out like a rocket across the room. I'm surprised I never burnt the house down.

4

When I was a kid we had a coal fire. I used to get matchsticks and wrap the burning end in the silver foil wrappers of my dads cigarette packets, place them on the burning coal pointing into the room and watch as the match would heat up, ignite, and had nowhere to go except shoot the matchstick out like a rocket across the room. I'm surprised I never burnt the house down.

– Taffy

I did the exact same thing Taffy. Do they still make matches nowadays?

5

Lol not the same I think if they do. There were the safety matches came later and spoilt my fun as they wouldn't ignite the same. Isn't that funny that 2 kids on different continents did the same thing lol

6

hmm I wonder if those big headed waterproof matches would do the trick? Now i want to try this!

7

If you do Bernie let us know the results

8

I'm with you, Manny.

We spent entire school days from 1961, when I was in first grade, through to my senior year watching Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches on the big Title III TVs bought for each classroom by the National Defense Education Act. The whole country watched together, our imaginations and our determination equally engaged. It was a grand and inspiring adventure, and we were all a part of it.

Truly America at its best.

And, while we lost (or were politicked out of) our national resolve to "do space," NASA has persevered as it could through funding fiascos, lowered expectations, disaster and scandal. But those people are still the best of America. Other Americans - with scientists around the world - have kept the flame alive. I'm as nuts for space and the various space programs now ongoing as I ever was - more so. I follow several astronomy and space blogs, study all I can absorb about the science, soak up the incredible imaging work being done by so many ongoing telescope projects both earth-based and in space. I have an app to tell me where the ISS is at all times, and I try to watch it go by.

When I get disgusted with the politics, the toxic coarsening and dumbing down of media, entertainment, and our national discourse, I find refuge in so many science/astronomy blogs and youtube channels where very smart people are working earnestly and diligently, without cynicism or political agenda, to go on discovering the universe and trying to make a place for humanity there. If we don't go, at least our spirits are there. These people are my hope in the midst of despair, and the dream is still alive.

And it still thrives - uniquely - in America. I look no further than the life story of Elon Musk, who is for me a true and worthy hero of our time. He immigrated from South Africa on graduation from high school - both to escape being drafted into a South African army which at the time enforced apartheid, and to pursue his commitment to contribute to the welfare of mankind - always intending to make enough money to work on his outrageously ambitious projects. First he lived in Canada with an aunt, then moved to Pennsylvania for college - working his way through and majoring in engineering and business. From there to Stanford - but only for a day. He realized both the communications and money-making potential of the internet, and worked his way up to fabulous wealth as a co-founder of PayPal - after which he invested every dime of his 180,000.000.00 payout in Tesla and Space-X.

It really is an only-in-America story. It doesn't prove that anyone can succeed as he has - he's an outlier in so many dimensions of human achievement, with a combination of talents and passions that come along (if we're lucky) once every other generation or so - but I'll take Elon as the poster child of the best and brightest coming here to pursue their dreams on behalf of us all.

And he's just one (if perhaps the most visible and outrageously productive) of thousands of first- and second-generation "new Americans" working in science, technology, and the academy. I'm grateful for the boys and girls and men and women from around the world who come here to be educated, to work with diligence and ferocious tenacity when so many native-born seem not to care, and to become America's future. They comprise an example of what I hope we're really all about - an America with a vision for the future, working on behalf of the whole world, ennobled by a commitment to the kind of grand pursuits that lift us all.

Of course we'll never get "there" - wherever there is - the universe is just too large. But, paradoxically, it makes us bigger to try, even as it teaches us how infinitesimally small we are.

I'm glad Voyager is still out there, becoming Vger, and I'm glad dozens of international and private space programs are doing the utmost to follow it.

9

I used to drive up to Frazier Park once a month and hang out with the LAAS guys, back when they were just starting to track the night sky with laptops. Just below Mt Pinos. Had to go up there to get away from the LA lights. They would haul up their big reflector telescopes. I couldn't get enough of that.

Now I live in the Sierras and every night is like that. The Milky Way so thick that it's sometimes hard to pick out constellations. It never gets old.

You LAliens (Manny and Taffy) should check out the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. I'm sure they still have their star parties once a month. Always a great excuse to drive up into the Tehachapi's.

And yes, the match and foil rockets still work. Not to the same effect as the big ol wooden matches, but will still entertain kids.

10

I miss the Good ol' Days of Life Magazine doing weekly articles on our hero Astronauts and folks like our new American Hero Iron Man Renaissance Man from S Africa! Huzzah for Elon! Falcon Heavy will be going up next month and hopefully the BFR rocket will take off beyond the concept stage as well! Yup, that's one BIG, F.... uh, Rocket (!) fer sure!

I miss the good ol' days (just last year) of great cooperation within students and scientists from all around the world congregating here in the US to advance science and knowledge of the universe both large and small. Sadly, we're now seeing an exodus of foreign born students, and foreign born scientists, beginning to leave US industry and academia due to current immigration policies. And with science and academia being the new neglected orphans in America's pecking order with monies for Universities and Govt. facilities slashed to the bone and beyond, it makes the future look a little less exciting.

11

And with science and academia being the new neglected orphans in America's pecking order with monies for Universities and Govt. facilities slashed to the bone and beyond, it makes the future look a little less exciting.

This too will pass. We will not pass gently into dark ages.

12

NASA isn't quite what it used to be. We now have to hitch rides with the Russian's version of our Space Shuttle. Thankfully, folks like Elon Musk are keeping the dream alive. I grew up watching the X-planes and early rocket programs with avid interest. I was, and still am, a huge science fiction (science speculation) fan, tho, being realistic, I know that travel to the stars isn't likely.

Yes, they still make old school stick matches. Paper book matches are as rare as hen's teeth, tho.

13

I love this thread, our space aspirations, and our America, and her Dreams. Thanks for this topic.

14

Space exploration was so much more than space exploration.

It was about what it is to be a human being -- striving to be something, to be better.

And the space program was also the perfect mixture of brains and guts. All those "geeky" guys with the horn-rimmed glasses and the pocket protectors with theirs pens in them...when I was a kid those guys to me were heroes on the same level as the heavyweight champion. And, oh, those men that actually went up into the sky in what those guys designed...they were Gods.

Funny that you title this thread "I Love America." Yes, it has to be said...we did it. No one else did. Not only do we rule the Earth, but America rules the heavens! (Yeah, that slightly tongue-in-cheek sentence is going to anger some here...but it is true. Is your flag on the moon?)

Real men!

15

Great thread. Big space nut, like proteus. The side thread about matches makes me laugh. When i was a kid, i would grind up the match heads and fill straws (paper) and then try to shoot them into space..... Then i figured bigger is better right? Nope! Copper pipe kinda goes bang! Ha!

16

Proteus, you just could've said "Cool!"

17

When I was in 7th Grade our Science teacher had an after school 'Modelers Club", it was mainly where all the geeks nerds and doofases hung out and did geek stuff. Slot car racing, Model Skyrockets, balsa wood projects,electrical projects etc. Can you believe I was once a Nerd? haha.

We once had a Match Stick rocket competition , the furthest distance won. Matches, foil paper and a paper clip were the only materials allowed. I cant remember alot of the details but I do remember the competition amongst my peers was alot of fun.

Cardboard matches did travel further than wood matches and foil pressure exerted on certain areas of the match dictated its travel distance and velocity, you know the whole Bernoulli/Newton thing. Great times indeed.

18

Great thread, all of you nerds, geeks, and doofusses! Makes me very nostalgic for those schooldays, the idea of bringing a TV into the classroom was so exciting, everyone counting down with the invisible-magical-friend of the astronauts- Voice of Cape Canaveral.

Thanks for reminding me. And go, Elon!

19

We didn't get TVs in the classroom. I went thru grade school and high school running 16mm projectors. Wound up making a career out of something I learned to do when I was 5.

20

Great thread, all of you nerds, geeks, and doofusses! Makes me very nostalgic for those schooldays, the idea of bringing a TV into the classroom was so exciting, everyone counting down with the invisible-magical-friend of the astronauts- Voice of Cape Canaveral.

Thanks for reminding me. And go, Elon!

– Deed Eddy

Wow, I forgot all about the teachers wheeling in those massive 25 inch black and white TV's into the classroom.

21

Didn't see TVs in the classroom either. Good ol' 16mm in those days also. I remember the Mercury launches, but just can't pull up the memories of how I witnessed them.

....my Dad was a projectionist in 1916/17!

Pocket protectors? Wore 'em at work all the time! Fulla pens, pencils and markers plus a six inch ruler in both Metric and American! Then there was the requisite Slide rule in it's own little holster, with a belt loop! Replaced by a pocket calculator too big for a pocket, that had it's own....belt loop! The battery life was so short on those early calculators that I kept the Slide rule right there in my desk drawer for all too frequent back-up!

Being a nerd and a geek has it's advantages. No need to put on pretenses to try to be cool!

22

I remember when I started college that you couldn't bring calculators into class as it was an unfair advantage---"show your work".

Of course, everything back then was in mono, and in black and white.

23

I too remember the TV in the auditorium to show the moon launches for the whole school. Sadly it seems the country no longer values the sciences. At some schools 80% of STEM graduate students are non-US born, per the NYT. No other comment on the recently approved tax bill but that it taxes graduate student stipends, ensuring that even fewer of those will study here. Once upon a time we lead the world, now it seems our government is actively turning away from that.

24

Tru-Arc Brothers prep launch of Lower Atmospheric Probe II, powered by Estes, circa 1969.

25

I wanted to be an astronaut too. Spent hours on cold nights using my Sears refractor telescope, viewing Jupiter and its moons, Saturn, our moon, trying to see the Orion Nebula and reading every book in the library on space travel and astronomy. I don't think I missed a televised launch from Apollo 11 through the Challenger disaster. I was so into this stuff that as a little kid I had the G.I. Joe Friendship 7 Mercury capsule with all the accessories as well as every Viewmaster slide available for the space program.

Our space program really showed what we could do as a country and it was something to be proud of. I felt and still feel sad when Obama canned the shuttle program without a replacement. Having to rely on the Russians for transport is a little embarrasing.


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